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Indianapolis celebrates opening of Bicentennial Unity Plaza outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse

New outdoor plaza outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An outdoor fan plaza outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse finally opened with a new basketball court.

State and city leaders celebrated the opening Thursday of the Bicentennial Unity Plaza and said it reflects the city’s diverse community.

“Dance, basketball, rollerskating, ice skating. It’s a place of hope and fun,” said Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

The plaza includes greenspace, a basketball court that converts to an ice skating rink, and interactive public art.

Leaders say it honors the city’s 200-year history while providing space for community programs, civic conversations, and entertainment.

It was all made possible by a $28.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment.

The plaza is part of the final phase of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse renovation project that started more than three years ago.

“It’s the world’s best venue for so many different kinds of events, and now to pair it with a venue like this, an outdoor venue like this that you can do so much in it is just incredibly exciting,” said Danny Lopez, vice president of External Relations in Corporate Communications.

Governor Eric Holcomb says this plaza will have a positive impact on the state’s economy.

“It’s a magnet, and as I alluded to inside a lot of my time is spent sharing the Indiana story and how our economy is growing and how our workforce is growing, but it’s the individual community. It’s really the heart and soul,” Holcomb said.

Community leaders say they hope it will inspire unity.

“It gives a real connectivity from the near east side all the way through White River and Lucas Oil that didn’t exist before. We have a very walkable downtown, and one of the things I know the city talks about and we as a region talk about is how you get people from the neighborhood into the downtown and make it connect and make it feel accessible, and that’s what this is about,” Lopez said.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said, “This is a plaza that honors the past, but it also speaks to the future of a more engaged, vibrant downtown Indianapolis.”

City and state leaders tell me they are looking forward to seeing more people come together to enjoy the plaza for years to come.